Why hire a professional?

There are many good reasons to hire a professional genealogist.

Perhaps, there are as many reasons as there are people seeking a professional. Generally, however, the decision to engage a professional is need based. Here are some examples.

  • The professional can fill some research specialization.
  • The research has reached a “brick wall.”
  • Confirmation of family lore.
  • The results of a DNA test are confusing or surprising.
  • Organization and updating of existing research.
  • The desire for direct mentoring.
  • Group or Society educational needs.
  • Interest in your family’s history, but you just don’t have the time.

Each of these, and more, are wonderful reasons to seek a professional genealogist. But, there is an even more important question than ‘why’ to hire a genealogist. That question is, Who should I hire? Again, this is need-based, but also based upon quality. So what should you look for? Here are some ideas.

  • Look for a skilled and proven researcher. What are the genealogist’s areas of expertise, background, and education?
  • Is the genealogist a member of professional organizations expounding standards, ethics, and the best practices of the genealogical discipline? These organizations include the Association of Professional Genealogists and the National Genealogical Society.
  • Seek a professional who has taken the time to complete advanced education and training in contemporary and cutting-edge practices in genealogical research. Boston University’s Center for Professional Education is one of the most sought after programs, granting a Certificate in Genealogical Research through a rigorous 15-week program. Specialized week-long Institutes, such as the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy and the Institute of Genealogical & Historical Research offer the latest and most advanced training on all topics in the field of genealogical practice.